Presentist democracy and the unmediatable
Isabell Lorey


Isabell Lorey
Simultaneous translation English – Catalan

Espai 4. 7pm
Free entry. Limited places

The representation and identity-critical movements of occupying squares since 2011 have been inventing new forms of democracy for which I have proposed the term ‘presentist’. These new democratic practices can also be found in some municipal governments of Spain. Presentist democracy does not mean simply the negation or the other side of political representation. Presentism is not in a dichotomous relation to re-presentation, but rather it emerges through a break with identitarian confrontations between ‘us’ and ‘them’, through an exodus from dualisms between refusal and engagement or consensus and conflict. In the midst of presentism, such an exodus opens up a breach for transversal constituent processes, for politics beyond the idea of mediation. If presentism is not that what is immediate and authentic, what can intercession mean in a presentist democracy?

Isabell Lorey, political theorist at the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies (eipcp), and co-editor of the experimental publication platform transversal texts. She is professor for Gender Politics at the Institute for Political Science of the University of Kassel. She taught social and cultural sciences, feminist and postcolonial theory at the Humboldt-University in Berlin and the Universities of Vienna and Basel. Her research interests focus on the ‘precarization’ of labour and life in neoliberalism, social movements, critical theory of democracy and representation, and political immunization. Her recent books include: Figuren des Immunen. Elemente einer politischen Theorie (diaphanes, 2011), State of Insecurity. Government of the Precarious (Verso, 2015); Presentist Democracy (2018). You can find more of her texts in Spanish here: